By the time the perfect night of cool August breezes (and no rain) ended, Saturday's sold-out Billy Joel show at Citizens Bank Park had made one thing evident: They don't write them like that anymore.
This is not solely a discussion of Joel's melodic charms, his rocker's take on Brill Building/Tin Pan Alley/Broadway hooks, his stance as a modern Gershwin, with twists of the Beatles, Bob Gaudio, and Donald Fagen.
What Joel provided to this mixed-age crowd was a life's soundtrack rich in urban, ethnic, specifically East Coast vibes and the kind of detailed character studies no songwriter does now, save within hip-hop. Then again, what could writers glean from a present so scrubbed clean, homogeneous, and gentrified? (Even Joel joked that the last time he was here - five years ago - "no building was higher than Billy Penn's hat").